The Things That the Racing Queensland Chief Executive Didn’t Mention to Gee Gee at the Job Interview – Part 2 – The Asset Strip and How ET Wrecked Tassie’s Principal Race Track By Neglect

When the veterinary surgeon Eliot Forbes arrived in the Apple Isle to take up his new role as Chief Operating Officer of TasRacing the organisation had assets of nearly $55 million and borrowings of just $1.5 million.

By the time he left the Apple Isle racing control body as Chief Executive Officer it had just $41 million left in assets and was in hock to its bankers for almost $11 million.

Let me put that another way.

Under the leadership of Eliot Forbes $12.5 million dollars worth of TasRacing assets simply vanished into thin air.

Well not quite: most of it actually vanished into borrowings against the assets, and came out the other side in the form of $11 million of debt, not a dollar of which has then or now increased TasRacing’s equity base by even a single red cent.

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The borrowed money was used – at ET’s volition – to install a Tapeta track at Spreyton, which most mainland punters will better know as the Devonport racecourse, which is located in the north of the small island and hosts 16 race meetings each year, all of them held either on a Sunday or during the week.

By way of comparison a near identical amount of money was allocated to the failed Eagle Farm course proper redevelopment, and they used to race at headquarters 46 times a year back in the days when it had a track and they could. To save you reaching for the calculator, that’s 3 times the number of meetings held annually at the Spreyton track.

Tapeta – a synthetic surface made of a mixture of sand, rubber and propylene fibre – is ill-favored by most trainers and Sheik Hamdan Al Maktoum – better known as Mr Godolphin – hates it, but the huge selling point is that Tapeta is near-rainproof and races can be run on it under any weather conditions, even hurricanes.

ET’s bright idea was that if he built a synthetic all-weather track constructed by his mate – the former gun UK and USA trainer Michael Dickinson – then Tasmania would never lose an inclement weather again, because they could all be transferred to Spreyton if it rained so hard that the races scheduled to be run in Hobart or Launceston had to be called off because of the water-logged state of the track.

 

 

It would have been a great idea except for one little thing that ET overlooked.

Rain’s a miserable bastard of a bloke. He doesn’t usually tell you when he’s coming, he just sneaks up between races 1 and 2 and surrounds your racecourse with black clouds that often shoot out lightning bolts and make loud noises and drop swimming pool sized volumes of water on your track and in seemingly no time at all it’s underwater and you have no option but to abandon the rest of your meeting.

Just ask the feckless fools who run Doomben, because it’s happened to them twice in just the past few weeks.

But even the BRC buffoons f*cked Eagle Farm up they still never transferred a washed out race meeting 100m across the road to Doomben on race day. In the first place the logistics were and remain far too difficult, but even more so the contractual issues involving punters who had placed bets in good faith relying on the club’s representations that races were to be held on a markedly different track created a nightmare that could only have resulted in a court ordered compensation and damages financial firestorm should the BRC have been so silly as to ever have attempted such a last minute switch.

Strangely enough though – or not, as the case may be – Spreyton has ended up hosting a few abandoned race meetings from other tracks this year, almost all of them having been moved from the principal Elwick track in Hobart at least a week before they were scheduled to run.

 

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Why?

Because thanks to the cost-cutting regime implemented by ET Forbes that included a ban on capital works the Elwick track is totally and utterly rooted, and due to the embargo on maintenance spending cannot drain water from between the 1300m and 850m marks, or between the 600m and 400m, rendering it totally unsafe to race on until Hobart has a week of brilliant sunshine that will evaporate the pooled rain water.

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TasRacing annual report 2012/13

It sounds eerily familiar doesn’t it Sporsfans?

Bloody idiots running racing, borrowing until they drop, shaving costs everywhere except in places where cost cuts don’t matter, sacking staff or driving them out, hocking all the assets to the hilt, hooking the books to make themselves look good, ruining racing and then running like f*ck and running even faster leaving some other sucker holding the ticking ‘sorry about that, just sell one of your race courses and you’ll be right son’ time bomb they’ve left behind.

Racing loves you Queensland.

It’s such a shame that you don’t love us back.

The Things That the Racing Queensland Chief Executive Didn’t Mention to Gee Gee at the Job Interview – Part 1 – The 10 Million Dollar Turnaround That Wasn’t

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It was all a con.

Eliot ‘ET’ Forbes didn’t turn the financial position of Tasmania around by $9.8 million.

The accountants did.

The year before ET saddled up as CEO he had been the Chief Operating Officer, and had talked his boss into booking up a $5.7 million impairment loss.

Impairment is a technical term that simply put means a write-down on your previous estimate of a thing’s value, in this case the thing being a racing control body.

To try to make it simple to understand imagine that you bought a BrisVegas Yellow Cab in 2005 and paid $500 000 for the licence. At the time you bought it it was returning profits of $100 grand a year, so it was reasonable to assume that its value over twenty years was 20 x $100 000 = $2 million.

Then Uber comes along and rather than prosecute them for breaching about a dozen different Acts and laws the Government cops their political donations with a smile and turns a blind eye, and later makes their illegal business activities lawful.

All of a sudden your annual profit on the cab drops to $50 000 and it twenty year projected value becomes 20 x $50 000 = $1 million.

Your investment in the Yellow Cab is now impaired.

The difference between the original $2 million twenty year value and the post-Uber infiltration $1 million is the amount of the impairment.

The $1 million impairment to your cab business is recorded in the accounts as a one-off expense, and comes off the top of your revenue when calculating the yearly profit. You take a bath, but gain a sh*tload of tax credits that mean you won’t be paying the taxman a dime on your earnings for the next 10 years until you use them all up.

But if Uber is suddenly outlawed by a new government taking its political donations from the taxi lobby, and in the absence of competition you start earning the $100 grand a year profit again, then you are required to reverse the impairment amount and turn it into a revenue figure in the accounts.

But because you are running a private business and don’t want to pay tax, you apportion the reversed impairment over the full 20 years so it becomes an annual income figure  of $1 million divided by 20 = $50 000, and that’s the number that goes into the accounts.

Like I said, ET Forbes talked the outgoing CEO into recording an impairment of $5.7 million in the TasRacing accounts in 2011/12, just months before he started wearing the number one saddle cloth in the joint.

The $5.7 million was recorded as an expense in the TasRacing financial accounts for the 2011/12 year, and it formed a large part – more than half – of the $10.38 million annual loss that TasRacing recorded.

Then a couple of months later Eliot Forbes became King of the Betfair sponsored fairy castle, and ET waved his fairy wand, and something magic happened.

The accountants decided that they’d been mistaken about the value of the impairment, and reversed their previous year’s estimate by just under $2.5 million.

The $2.47 million was included in the financial accounts as revenue.

And because it was recorded as a one-off, the $5.7 million impairment disappeared.

In an instant the TasRacing financial position had been turned around by $5.7 million + $2.5 million = $8.2 million, without ET having to achieve a single thing except having talked the old boss into the impairment and then employing a clever accountant.

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Then ET rolled up his shirt sleeves and set to work, and this is what he did

  • Borrowed another $500 000 and masked it by use of contributed equity in the form of the Tassie Government stepping in and making the repayments
  • Recorded an additional $100 000 in the books as sponsorship, even though it was really 100 large that Tatts Bet had put up as a bonus for any horse winning both the Hobart and Launceston Cups (no horse did that year: Gee Gee’s Blackflash bolted in winning the Lonny beer mug, but only managed 3rd in the ‘Bart)
  • Reduced the depreciation value on the TasRacing assets by $80 000
  • Lifted $385 000 from TasRacing’s employee defined benefit Superannuation fund
  • Reduced Workers Compensation premiums by $640 000 by using state-wide legislative changes to push the costs of insurance back onto the jockeys
  • Slashed staff numbers and saved $500 000
  • Reduced admin costs by $100 000 thanks to the reduced number of employees
  • Slashed prize money by $460 000 while telling everyone he had actually increased it by $340 000

He spent a bit of the savings here and there – $100 extra on marketing, a $700 000 write down on obsolete assets – but when you added the extra revenue from the reversed impairment, the Jack the Slasher approach to staff numbers, and the legal but devious accountancy fiddles to the plus side of the ledger, and took off the $5.7 previous impairment expense, the actual numbers were amazingly nearly exactly the same.

Yet the accounts showed a positive turnaround that Eliot Forbes has boasted about as his personal and absolutely incredible against all odds ‘I’m a Black Caviar of a CEO’ achievement.

What a goddamn miracle!

What an absolute con.

A con that Gee Gee fell hook, line and sinker for, and so now here we have a bloke whose sum total of management experience is holding the roles of:

(a) Head vet for a Dictator-run racing association located in a wind-swept Arab desert state boasting only 5 racecourses; and

(b) CEO of a racing control body on a small island that has only 5 racecourses, one of which – Longford – only races once a year

and this man with the vastly limited top-level industry management experience, but a hell of a good self-promoters spruik, is in charge of the racing industry in the nation’s third most populous and second largest State with 120 race courses under his control.

It’s madness isn’t it?

The next thing you know we’ll be having a Racing Minister who’d never even been to the races before she was given the job in charge of it.

Or a CEO of the BrisVegas race club who hadn’t either, except when someone had slipped him some gratis tickets that included free fang and booze.

Or a stud master with a single horse who almost bankrupted the breeding industry by taking a court case about the accidental death of a stallion named Brave Warrior being elected unopposed (because no-one else was interested, except this writer who the stud master and his mates wouldn’t allow to run) as Chairman of the same Vegas club.

Or a bloke being appointed as boss of the Racing Control Body whose only involvement ever with the industry had been to invest a couple of million bucks in some breeding outfit that’s name he can’t remember for the sole purpose of gaining a personal and corporate tax advantage.

What’s that Mum.

We already do?

Come off the Eagle Farm grass you old chook!

Sat that again dear?

You can’t, because it doesn’t have any?

Jesus bloody Christ, I feel like my beloved Queensland racing’s been overtaken by aliens.

Stop E.T!

I’m coming with you!

 

 

Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Girl Scouts – How the Scouting Movement and the State’s Governor Have Failed Queensland Kids and Their Parents Yet Again

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A Queensland Scouts leader facing “extremely serious” child pornography charges has been kept behind bars after a magistrate ruled it was too risky to let him out.

Daniel Leslie Cooper, 38 (above) fronted the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday morning, charged with nine child porn offences including possessing, distributing and using a carriage service to access.

The court heard the Deception Bay father, whose daughter no longer lived with him, faced “lengthy imprisonment” if convicted of the charges.

https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/queensland-scout-leader-charged-with-serious-child-porn-offences-20171120-p4yx3k.html

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Queensland’s Chief Scout, the State’s Governer Paul ‘Daphnis’ De Jersey of Wild Nights With Rob Borbidge at Brett’s Boys Brothel fame (centre, right)

Given all that we have learned through the Child Abuse Royal Commission about how pedophiles nearly always maneuver their way into working with kids (if you weren’t clever enough to have worked that out yourself already) wouldn’t you think that the Scouts would undertake some basic checks on its volunteers before allowing them to assume positions in the organisation that afforded them power and influence over, and direct contact with, naive and vulnerable young minors?

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Basic things that don’t cost money, like having a quick peek at the social media accounts of the new prospective prospective volunteer to see if there is anything on their account that jumps out of the pages at you and raising big red flags as a warning that the account owner who posted them there may not be a suitable person to work with kids?

The Scouts told the Royal Commission that they were going to be more vigilant and undertake thorough background checks on their volunteers, but words are cheap, and they lied.

This below is a screenshot of the ‘likes’ page from this piece of sh*t kiddy fiddler Daniel Cooper’s Facebook account, which can be accessed by clicking here.

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Does anything jump out of the page at you?

Yeah.

It sure does, doesn’t it?

Want to keep your kids safe from sexual abuse by predatory monsters?

Then mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be Girl Scouts.

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No you f*cking pedophile piece of trash, it’s you.

The Crazy Flip Flop Fool Eliot Forbes Issues a Press Release Declaring His Innings at Racing Queensland Over – There’s No Need to Phone Home ET – They’re Expecting You Anytime Soon

Racing Queensland has welcomed an election commitment from the Liberal National Party to fund country racing in Queensland and to boost prize money and incentives for breeders.

Racing Queensland CEO, Dr Eliot Forbes said the funding commitments are positive.

“We have seen statements that commit to $72.9 million over four years for country racing and a boost of $24 million for prize money and incentives for breeders, inclusive of a $16.5 million package for country racing, referred to as additional funding.

“We have sought more details on the nature and timing of the funding and how the packages relate to each other. What we can say is that any additional money for racing provides an advantage that will flow through to all participants and stakeholders.

“Racing Queensland is pleased that all political parties have recognised racing’s important economic and social contributions to the state. The industry generates $1.2b of economic value in Queensland with around 42,000 individuals employed or engaged within the industry”.

Racing Queensland has delivered a $20 million turnaround during the last financial year and already boosted prize money by $3.2m this year.

“We have developed and implemented a Strategic Plan focused on commercial growth while launching our infrastructure program, with $19 million in projects already underway.”

Dr Forbes noted the LNP’s policy position to change the governance structure of the racing industry, providing for each code to have operational control and more industry participation.

“If the LNP wins Government their policy suggests a nine-month period for consultation and development of a new governance model of individual code bodies for thoroughbred, greyhound and harness racing.

“My focus, and that of my team, will continue to be on increasing confidence and participation in racing in Queensland and driving our commercial relationships to deliver increased returns to all racing participants,” said Dr Forbes.

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Forfeit Lists, Debts, Disqualified Trainers and Riders Riding and Training, Racing Queensland, Total F*ck Ups, LNP Loving Public Servants, ET and Me – Just Another ‘Only In Queensland’ Racing Tale

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You’ve read, digested and understood the extract from the Australian Rules of Racing extracted and printed above have you?

Excellent.

Yeah good.

The only thing you’ve ever read in your life is the form guide and the lift-out racing section in Friday and Sunday’s newspapers. Here’s the condensed version of the Forfeit List to make it easy for you.

Hypothetical Example

You’re the train a bandy legged, fat barreled aged gelding who is about three years past its best, which was a win in an Esk maiden. Your mate at the Caboolture track tells you about this whizz bang gear he’s getting from India via a corrupt customs official and a couple of hard men in Melbourne, and offers you a whack for one of your horses.

This mate of yours is on fire at the moment and winning 1 in 4 of every races his horses start in so you say sure thing, thanks very much and rush down to Bunnings to buy a few metres of plastic tubing and a few other bits and bots that you filch because you’re on the bones of your arse and can’t afford to pay.

You do the business on the way to Bundamba in the six berth float with only 1 horse and you inside it, your camel runs out of its skin and wins by three lengths running away on the post. You haven’t had a cracker on it because you don’t have any and your credit’s no good, but you promise your hoop a huge sling when the seven grand prize money cheque arrives.

The minute it hits the letterbox a week or two later you dash down to your local grabbing your mate from his joint on the way, cash it in the lounge for 80% of the face value, order a round of beers with rum chasers, and before you know it six hours have passed by and you and your hoop are blind drunk and playing the bandits.

What happens between then and when you wake up naked on the front lawn the next morning is all a bit of a blur, and you feel that familiar old sick feeling starting to rise in your guts as you reach for your wallet. The sinking feeling’s correct weight because of you only find moths inside, and dead ones at that, and your jockey mate’s in the same boat and you’re both back exactly where you started, which is nowhere, but that’s par for the course and anyway, gee it was a bloody good night.

Two days later a letter arrives in the mail from QRIC. It’s bad news. They’ve swabbed the camel, he’s come up positive and the stewards have disqualified him from the race.

There’s another letter as well. It’s from Racing Queensland, and contains a demand that you pay the amount of the winning cheque back to the club, and they kindly allow you fourteen days to organise the ante, but it might as well be a century the way you’re traveling, and even they they’ll be lucky if they collect.

You don’t pay.

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Racing Queensland plonk you onto the Forfeit List and suddenly you’re disqualified and unable to step onto any race track or training course in the country, under threat of huge fines and/or being warned off and you are totally f*cked, because now you’re not allowed to train or ride a racehorse anywhere, anytime, not until you pay the principal club the full dump of the dough you owe them anyway.

So that’s the idiots version of the forfeit list and how it is supposed to operate under the Australian Rules of Racing.

Got it?

Good, now you’re ready.

Read on.

We In Racing Are Surrounded on All Sides By Sheer Bloody Incompetence and Monster-Sized Mediocrity – Welcome to Racing Queensland’s Train Wreck

In the previous article I described the operation of the forfeit list, and showed you the Australian Rules of Racing that prescribe that licensees on the list are disqualified from participating in the industry until they have cleared their bills, regardless of how much their debt may be.

The monetary value owed is irrelevant except to the person who owes the dough and the racing club accountant eager to receipt it. It’s consistency that matters and at the baseline everyone on the list is treated exactly the same. They’re outed Australia wide until they stump up and clear their slate.

Well that’s how it is supposed to work anyway, but in the weird and whacky world of Queensland Racing nothing ever quite operates as it should, and thanks to some good oil received over the tip line we have discovered that at least 3 licensees that should (must) be disqualified from the industry under the rules.

One is a country trainer named Grant Allard, and the other two are jockeys, bush hoop Lee Attard and Group 1 winner Rhys McLeod, and each is actively and brazenly plying their trade down south right now, despite the law that decrees they must sit schtum in front of the idiot box with an X-box controller in their hands shooting Elephants in Microsoft’s new online multi player game Big Boys Do It Badder playing doubles until  they pay the Queensland principal club back what they owe them and are permitted to reenter the racecourse and surrounds (good filly that one, won a Cox Plate and a Queensland Oaks, among 6 group wins she achieved in her career.

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As you can see from the extract of this month’s forfeit list published on page 144 of Race Magazine (which doubles as the racing calendar) the sums owed aren’t huge, but they have been owing for between 4 and 40 months and a check of the back issues of the calendar shows that not one of the quartet has paid a red cent off their bill since it became due and owing.

Rules are rules, and this one is pretty simple: all four should be – under the rules are – disqualified until they cough up the cash to Queensland Racing.

But for some inexplicable reason they are not.

Rhys McLeod has had 11 mounts in the past fortnight, including a ride in the $200 000 Country Cup at Flemington on Oaks Day (his mount Zagaya led from a wide gate and gave its owners a brief thrill, but folded up like a piano accordion in the straight to finish a respectable 8th of 16), and in that time has kicked home three seconds and three thirds, and picked up another bunch of cheques on top because they pay something all the way down to tenth place in Victoria.

Since venturing south to Victoria a couple of weeks ago after a battling stint trying his luck in Central Queensland, jockey Lee Attard has steered home three horses that ran last, two who ran second last, one that fluked a third of six at Albury and earned $1870 in prize money for efforts, and another that ran fourth of ten at the same track and collected a cheque for 885 bucks.

Gosford trainer Grant Allard – whose stable runners have earned stakes money of more than $2.6 million over the past 9 years – has only saddled up 6 runners during the past 14 days or so but has had a bit more luck than the hoops, winning a race at at his home track and running second in another, sandwiched in between two last placings and a sixth of eight.

Under the rules of racing and the policy and procedures of Racing Queensland not a single one of the three should have competed in any race at all while they remained on the forfeit list, for by virtue of the amounts owing to RQ each of them are disqualified absolutely from participating in the industry.

So why are they training and riding?

It’s a damn good question isn’t it, and not a trite one either because under the National rules the connections of a runner beaten by any of the horses trained or ridden by the trio can lodge an objection (a protest) about the disqualified forfeit-lister’s participation in any given race and seek to have them disqualified, provided that they make the application within 30 days of the running of relevant race.

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In the circumstances as I understand them there appear to be no grounds on which the objections could be dismissed, and in each of the races objected to the horse associated with Allard, Attard or McLeod would be disqualified and the prize money reallocated to the connections of the genuinely qualified runners in the race.

This of course brings us back to a situation similar to that described hypothetically on the story above where the trainers and connections of the horse would have to send back their prize money. The jockey gets to keep theirs – probably as due reward for the risks they take riding a 600kg steed at high speed around treacherously tight provincial track turn – but the knock on effect is enormous, and the amount of quite avoidable administrative and legal work and expense involved in attempting to recoup the debts is overwhelming.

The whole thing should never have happened, and we have no idea how or why it did, although I’m looking to take plenty of even money about the favorite Incompetence.

It’s best we get the word straight from the horses mouth at Sandown before jumping to completely justified, albeit slightly under-informed, positions about how this absolute cock-up occurred.

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Given it involves the suddenly pro-LNP ‘independent’ government board stacked with Labor appointments that we know as Racing Queensland it’s best not to even try to speculate about which of three thousand six hundred and eighty-eight ways they’ve stuffed up and managed to flaunt the law by not properly performing their functions competently as required by law.

Tomorrow we’ll give it a crack and see if we find out exactly what went wrong, and nail down an answer about how and why.

Until then though sportsfans the English steeple chasers await.

Up, up, over and away!